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Why Chiromo Lane will remain partially closed for the next seven months

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Chiromo Lane in Westlands Nairobi will be closed from Wednesday June 15 to January 15, 2020 to facilitate the construction of the vehicular underground tunnel for the multi-billion Global Trade Center.

In a public notice in the local dailies, the Nairobi County Government Secretary and Head of County Public Service, Pauline Kahiga, said the closure will facilitate completion of civil works on the underground tunnel across the lane that is being undertaken by AVIC international.

“During the said period (of the closure), motorists are advised to follow traffic signs and guidance of traffic marshals on the site during the civil works,” Kahiga said in the public notice.

Kahiga said the perusal of the map showing off the intended partial closure of the road may be done at the office of the chief officer or at the AVIC international site office.

TALLEST BUILDING

The Global Trade Centre (GTC), is East Africa’s first landmark city complex, which will redefine Nairobi’s skyline with its unparalleled building heights, presenting “a dream city and community” to the country.

The 47-storey mixed use building by Chinese state-owned aerospace and defence company, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC International), is expected to cost up Sh40 billion in construction and other related costs once complete.

The GTC Towers will be completed by 2020 and will host the headquarters of the Chinese company and other multinational firms.

It will also comprise a hotel, commercial and residential units as well as offices. AVIC has investments spanning sectors such as real estate, aviation and consumer goods.

The trade centre situated in Westlands began its construction in July 2015 and launched on September 18 last year. The building once completed will be the tallest in Nairobi.

Source:Nairobinewshttps://nairobinews.nation.co.ke

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When the deal is just too good … How Urithi members paid millions for air

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Urithi, a housing co-operative that has marketed itself as the best bet for those who cannot afford mortgages, has sold air to unsuspecting Kenyans, killing their dreams of becoming homeowners.

In yet another property scandal, more than 32,000 members of the co-operative are counting their losses.

Those who had taken bank loans to finance their purchases are dealing with double losses, given that they have nothing to show for the money.The losses run into billions of shillings, Urithi having run out of lies to feed its investors.

Some have waited for more than eight years, and are coming to terms with the fact that they have lost their investment.

Its directors, who live large and drive posh cars, ride roughshod over investors and have no time even for direct media inquiries, preferring to use police to silence protesters rather than face their customers and offer solutions.

Urithi chairman, Samuel Maina, in the most recent status update, dated June 2, said the co-operative had profiled every project to give clear timelines and deliverables.

“Over 30 land projects are in good progress and their title deeds shall be delivered in a few months. We have set up a robust communication desk to contact each of the members based on their obligations or payment status,” he said.

Mr Maina said those who understand the Urithi socio-economic model, understand that “each project is independently based on its timelines, region or structure”.

“Each should be addressed as such, without mixing issues,” he added.

Urithi is accused of collecting money from members to buy land, which it used as collateral for loans. Some of the land is now facing auction.

Potential investors were drawn to the projects by enticing adverts, well-planned trips to view the land, with mega ground breaking ceremonies and artistic impressions of what their future homes would look like.

Some were taken to Malindi more than fives years ago, accommodated in a posh hotel and then driven 20 kilometres to be shown the land that they were buying.

Urithi then asked for fencing and title processing money, but after being paid, the sales agents dis-appeared and blocked customers’ calls.

The promise was that they would own the homes within a relatively short time and the payment schedules only sweetened the deal.So they trooped in their thou-sands to join the co-operative. Now they are in tears as they realise that they were duped into buying air. Most agents who sold properties on behalf of the co-operative have also vanished.

The clients are now lining up at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to lodge complaints. For more than two weeks, the Nation has tried to get the company and its agents to talk. Last Friday, Chairman Maina did not pick our calls.

1qBut he sent a text message: “Hello, thanks for inquiring. I will call you once I am free to talk.” He has not communicated.

We asked him what had led to the flood of complaints from distressed members, and what had caused the latest problems.

Simon Gathai

When Mr Simon Gathai invested Sh1.95 million on land within the Nairobi metropolitan, he knew that was what he wanted.

Even though it was covered with coffee bushes, the sales talk that accompanied the artistic impressions of what the estate would look like when completed were enough to convince him to buy it.

“I was told that roads would be constructed, a perimeter wall and common areas for residents,” he told the Nation. He took a bank loan to pay the entire Sh1.95 million for an eighth of an acre plot at Ruiru Ridges in April, 2018.

After paying, Mr Gathai knew it was just a matter of time before he would have land to build his home.

“But ever since, we are still waiting for our titles. They have just been telling us to wait. The whole project seems to be a sham,” offers a disappointed Mr Gathai.

“I have tried approaching the management to be shown my plot so that I can uproot the coffee bushes and develop it but I have not been successful,” he adds.He says the co-operative has been reluctant to call status meetings, fearing members will know each other and mobilise themselves, which would work against its interests.

Meanwhile, Mr Gathai continues to service the loan he took to pay for the land, which pains him.

Benear Shapaya

In 2016, Mr Benear Shapaya attended a ground-breaking ceremony for the co-operative’s housing projects. He was trying to weigh his options on where to invest, especially in property.After the sumptuous meal and flowery speeches on how the co-operative would walk with members to see them own their own homes, Mr Shapaya decided to invest in one of their projects.

In August that year, he secured a Sh1 million bank loan, which he used to book a two-bedroom unit in Joska-OTG Phase 2.

The property’s full cost was Sh1.6 million.He was promised that the project would be completed in two years, and so he proceeded to pay monthly instalments. However, as months turned into years, there was nothing to show for his money.“I don’t even know where the property I bought is. I have tried finding out from Urithi offices but nobody seems to know. It seems I paid money for a project that does not exist,” he says.

When he saw things were not turning out as he expected, in May last year, he wrote to the co-operative, saying he wanted to withdraw his membership and seek reimbursement of the money he paid.

“That was after I made my last payment and went on the ground, only to find there was nothing to show for the money I had paid. I realised we had been duped,” he told the Nation.

He had invested Sh1.4 million and had completed servicing the Sh1 million loan.

‘They do not seem to be interested in finishing the project. Whenever they say they are doing something, it’s just some cosmetic kind of thing,” he says.He now wants his money re-funded after realising it was not a genuine deal. Jane Maina

What motivated Jane Maina to join Urithi was the desire to own a home, and the fact that she worked in Mombasa and did not have the time to supervise the construction of a house.

She considered buying a housing the easier option. In 2016, she joined the co-operative’s OTG-Joska and Juja-Gem projects, where she thought she hoped to own three houses. By the end of 2017, she had completed payments for the OTG project, which cost Sh1.6 million.

During the Annual General Meeting AGM in 2018, Ms Maina says, Urithi Chairman Maina promised members of the project that all the units would be completed by November that year and their houses would be handed to them. That has not happened to date.Ms Main has paid Urithi Sh4.37 million.

She regrets having sold a plot on Thika Road to invest in the project.

Susan Nyaga

Before Susan Nyaga’s husband died, they decided to acquire a house to avoid paying rent.

And she came across the Urithi adverts in late 2016. Since her husband was working in Somalia, she secured a Sh1 million bank loan for the down payment.

She would pay the remaining Sh600,000 in instalments.

Unfortunately, she lost her husband in January 2017 when she was still struggling to settle the balance, as well as service the loan.

“At the time, I was under a lot of stress, having lost my husband. But the co-operative kept asking me to complete my payments while the bank was pushing me to service their loan,” she says.

So she took another bank loan to repay the first one and pay Urithi what she still owed. All the while the co-op promises that the houses would be handed over to the owners by March 2017. But March came and went, without any communication from Urithi.

In April, she visited the site and found out what was happening. It was then that she realised, to her shock, that the house she had been told was almost complete did not even exist.

Meanwhile, the bank from which she had taken the second loan was on her neck. She sold a car and a plot to repay the bank.

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Kenyans in Diaspora now can fly into and out of Kenya from August 1st

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Kenyans who have been stuck outside the country can now fly into their motherland from the beginning of next month, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

On Monday, Kenyatta announced the resumption of international travel into and out of the country as part of “phased reopening” of the economy, as well as the lifting of internal travel restrictions.

The move comes as pressure mounts to kickstart the country’s ailing economy after nearly four months of coronavirus restrictions that have devastated key industries such as tourism.

Kenyatta said in a televised address that “international air travel into and out of the territory of Kenya shall resume effective 1 August 2020.”

Kenya, like many other countries has been grappling with the agony and uncertainty brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Local air travel to resume on Wednesday, July 15 in strict conformity with the guidelines of Ministries of Health and Transport,” the president announced, adding that international travel will resume on August 1, 2020.

“We have not yet met the irreducible minimums 100 per cent. However, we have reached a reasonable level of preparedness across our counties,” Uhuru said.

He added that the eased restrictions were conditional and that the nation would revert to lockdown if health trend signals a worsening of the pandemic.

A cautious president Kenyatta said the patterns of the disease would be studied for the next 21 days.

“Places of worship will be opened in three weeks to 100 people for services that are not more than one hour and shall not include congregants under the age of 13 years or above the age of 58 years or persons with underlying conditions,” he said.

This is whilst, Sunday schools and Madrasas will remain closed.

“Restrictions on gathering in weddings, bars and political gatherings have been extended for 30 days. I remain alive to the socio-economic challenges facing our country. History has taught us that Covid-19 is not the first economic disaster, there were many more before it,” Uhuru said.

“Jobs have been lost, businesses have closed and livelihoods endangered,” he added.

He went on: “It is not enough for the government to pump resources into the economy using stimulus instruments, as we have done.  Such efforts will go to waste if the people do not co-create solutions with the government.””We must remember that the coronavirus is invisible. We can only evade it by engaging the invisible army.”

Uhuru said that the country had to contain the infections and the number of deaths before all the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

“To open up the economy, the infections must be contained and the number of deaths must be headed downward but this is not the case.”

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How to stay afloat during Covid-19 period

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Over the last three months, I have done the more talks, Webinars, Facebook Live shows, mentorship forums and one-on-one telephone engagements than the entire year 2019.

During this Covid-19 period, I have discovered 8 very workable ways of staying afloat:

*1. Have an Achiever’s Mindset: Achievers accomplish big goals by staying focused. You need to keep the focus in order to say No to distractions, you need a Lion’s courage to say Yes in other issues and a lot of self-discipline to say ‘Not Yet’ to many society’s enticements around you

2. You need a Winning Power within YOU: You must believe that you fit into something better and bigger than yourself. You must adopt the attitude of accepting yourself and the way you are. The real you. And you have to be proud of yourself.

3. Conquer the BAD in you: This bad could be jealousy, selfishness, dislike of successful people, bad habits or just having negative thoughts most of the time. You need to start new good habits. Stop watching negatively skewed news, challenge your negative thoughts and associate yourself with positive people.

4. Dine with Dreamers and Change your life for good: I recommend three types of people that you need in your life;
i. Positive people, these will positively inspire you big.
ii. Go-Getters, these have dreams and goals in life.
iii. Visionaries, these are creatives, they make impossible possible.

5. Have a marathoner’s Energy: These are people who have great energy earned after a lot of preparation, practice, eating right and having supportive networks. Just get it right like a marathoner.

6. Be a True Lion: A lion is not bothered by the noise of Napier grass. It’s always bold and confident. Learn to know where you look, where you spend your energy and thoughts. Not everything in life matters and you cannot be everything. Just do one thing and do it so well.

7. Master your Art: You need to ask yourself; what am I best at? What am I know for? Work on this niche and keep perfecting it.

8. Be Curious: In life, be eager to know stuff, research, explore and always ask for more information. Those with inquisitive minds get better and better in life. Life is mysterious and needs more digging.

The author, is a leading Entrepreneur, a Published Author, Philanthropist, Youth Empowerment Enthusiast, a Family man and CEO of Optiven Group.

Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300 Email: admin@optiven.co.ke Website: www.optiven.co.ke George Wachiuri Blog: www.georgewachiuri.com
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2VdSuFJ

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